What is a recordable vs reportable incident or injury?

What is a recordable vs reportable incident or injury?

Incidents, injuries, and fatalities that occur within the workplace can have a significant impact on your business and may have long-term ramifications on workers and their families. The health and safety of workers should be a top priority for employers, not just because it is the right thing, but also to ensure they are compliant with relevant legislation.

Safe Work Australia is a Government statutory agency, established in 2009 under the Safe Work Australia Act 2008. Safe Work’s primary responsibility is to improve work health and safety across Australia. Under The Act, persons conducting a business or undertaking (PCBUs) have a primary duty to ensure the health, safety and well-being of workers while they are at work and others who may be affected by the carrying out of work, such as visitors. As such it is important to know what to do if someone is injured.

There is often a level of confusion around recordable vs reportable events and the requirements when reporting an event. This article clarifies the difference between reportable and recordable events and defines how to report an event.

What are ‘Notifiable Incidents’?

As a legal requirement, PCBUs must notify their WHS regulator (SafeWork or WorkSafe) of certain injuries or incidents and work-related deaths. These are known as ‘notifiable incidents’

A ‘notifiable incident’ includes:

  • the death of a person
  • a ‘serious injury or illness’, or
  • a ‘dangerous incident’ that exposes someone to a serious risk, even if no one is injured.

‘Notifiable incidents’ may relate to any person—whether an employee, contractor or member of the public.

Safe Work Australia defines a “serious injury or illness” as any of the following:

  • Immediate treatment as an in-patient in a hospital
  • Immediate treatment for
  • the amputation of any part of the body
  • a serious head injury
  • a serious eye injury
  • a serious burn
  • the separation of skin from an underlying tissue
  • (such as de-gloving or scalping)
  • a spinal injury
  • the loss of a bodily function
  • serious lacerations
  • medical treatment (treatment by a doctor) within 48 hours of exposure to a substance

Notification is also required for the following serious illnesses:

  • Any infection where the work is a significant contributing factor. This includes any infection related to carrying out work:
  • with micro-organisms
  • that involves providing treatment or care to a person
  • that involves contact with human blood or body substances
  • that involves handling or contact with animals, animal hides, skins, wool or hair, animal carcasses or animal waste products.

Some types of work-related dangerous incidents must be notified even if no one is injured.

If a notifiable incident occurs, you must:

  • report it to the regulator immediately, and
  • preserve the incident site until an inspector arrives or directs otherwise.

This doesn’t prevent you from helping an injured person or making the site safe. Call 000 if there is an immediate risk to life.

Source: https://www.safeworkaustralia.gov.au/safety-topic/managing-health-and-safety/incident-reporting

_As a best-practice rule, notifiable events should also be recorded in a company’s incident register for transparency, to assign persons responsible for corrective actions and to add any incident details such as photos, files or comments to the record.

What are Recordable Events?

Not all incidents, injuries and near misses that occur within the workplace need to be reported, however, they should be recorded.

There will always be an overlap between recordable and reportable incidents, as organisations should ensure that records are kept for all incidents at work. If legal requirements define a work-related incident as reportable, this is also a recordable event. Recordable events can encompass all injuries, including those that only require first aid or were a near miss.

Safety and contractor management software, such as Comply Flow, enable workplaces to quickly and easily record all incidents (using templates or custom-built incident forms) in a simple online register. Moreover, digital incident management tools ensure recordable events are addressed quickly and effectively, with a clear and transparent record trail and features that allow corrective actions to be created and assigned to any responsible parties. Incident details, photos, files and other records are easily attached to an incident record - all stored securely in a digital register - and can be effortlessly retrieved in future for audits or safety reviews.

Who is Responsible for Recording and Reporting?

Recording and reporting incidents is ultimately the business owner's responsibility. However, this duty may be delegated to management or other authority, hence it is vital that persons responsible for reporting incidents on site know what to do and how to report the incident.

Legislation requires organisations to keep incident records for a minimum of five years and post summaries of injuries from the previous year between the months of February and April. If requested, an employer must provide copies of injury/illness summaries to current and former employees.

Incident management software is incredibly valuable to businesses for this purpose. Not only do they support a clear, accurate and up-to-date incident record, but they also enable all relevant parties to contribute information (photos, comments, files), assign corrective actions to the persons responsible, and update the status of the incident so that there is a clear understanding of anything that still requires action.

How to Report and Record Incidents, Injuries and Fatalities.

Complying with incident reporting and record-keeping requirements can be a tough job, paperwork is often the last thing on your mind in the chaos surrounding a serious injury or fatality.

Notifiable Incidents must be reported to your state WHS regulator (SafeWork or WorkSafe).

However, ensuring a record of the incident can turn into a messy paper trail. This is where Incident Management software offers companies an essential advantage.

An Incident Management System can be utilised to generate reports, undertake investigations, and analyse the incident all in one place while allowing employers and management to track any actions that are needed.

Minimising Incidents across your Sites

While understanding legislative reporting requirements is important, the ultimate goal here is to minimise the risk of injury and accidents across your operations.

Incident management systems are an important piece of the puzzle, but what companies often miss is the necessity of a more comprehensive system to ensure contractors and workers on site are compliant, competent and work-ready. A contractor management system thereby ensures:

  • Workers on site have all the relevant qualifications, competencies, and documents for their work role
  • Workers on site have completed all the relevant training and inductions for the site they’re accessing
  • Contractor companies working on site have a complete compliance profile (all relevant Insurances eg. Public Liability or Workers Compensation, Licences, Safety Management Systems etc) are verified and up to date
  • Any physical assets, vehicles or plant are compliant, have all the relevant Maintenance Schedule, Registrations, Risk Assessments, Manuals available and verified

Managing this manually, however, can be a huge administrative overhead to companies. A manual approach also means there is no way for the relevant parties (e.g. supervisors, safety managers) to effectively identify a) the requirements or criteria any given worker needs to have met before attending site and b) whether they are compliant or not based on this criteria.

Contractor management solutions such as Comply Flow offer a seamless portal for businesses looking to manage contractors (including a compliance status for both contractor companies and their workers based on their work role, risk level or site they are accessing). This solution can then also be integrated with an out-of-the-box incident management module (with the flexibility to customise workflows, incident templates and more) to ensure your organisation is staying on top of safety.

Want to learn more about how Comply Flow can help your business? Get in touch today!